Meet Sandra and Grahame Wade. Aussies. Mid-70s. Came to Jesus later in life (mid-40). Founders of the ministry known as Open Arms.
What do most of us do when we become Jesus followers?
In my experience, we generally try to align with Jesus and continue on with our own lives. Not these two. They heard that Jesus said to “go and make disciples” so they moved to Cambodia to do just that.
Not the pretty part of Cambodia. They moved to one of the darkest alleys in the darkest neighborhood you can possibly imagine. Their alley empties into a street lined with brothels disguised as bars or massage parlors…blocks of them. Around the corner from their ministry house is a place called Heart of Darkness. It is.
So the Wades moved in and started “adopting” children. They filled their home with unwanted children, previously-trafficked children, children without hope in the world. They brought them in and told them “you are ours and we love you.” And they discipled them in Jesus and the good news of the Kingdom. They taught them job skills and helped them complete formal education.
Years later, three of those kids they took in are running the ministry: discipling kids and the prostitutes who want to leave the street and follow Jesus. We went out on the street with them to give toiletry gift bags to the prostitutes and drug users on the street so they would know someone still sees them as humans—as God-image bearers.
Those young ladies were fearless on the street; a street I would probably not choose to walk down alone. They do what their “mom and dad” did the way their “mom and dad” did it: with fearless devotion…and open arms.